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Ice Age Continental Drift: needs more squirrel (spoiler alert in our analysis)
on April 4, 2015
When I watch Ice Age, I couldn’t care less about the mammoth(s?), tiger, sloth, or any other idiotic extinct creatures; I do however care for and passionately love the squirrel.
Unless the squirrel is on screen, “Ice Age: Continental Drift” has its audience drifting in and out of boredom. Really, the squirrel is the only redeeming character of this film. To be totally honest, judging by the highly misleading cover image of the film, we all thought this entire movie was focused on the squirrel. But this is far from the case. Instead, the movie focuses on a slew of incessant squawking from, but not limited to, a stereotypical pack of jock-mammoths (was Niki Minaj’s character even necessary?) and a grandma sloth with a voice grating enough to grenade your eardrum. Not including the squirrel in every second of the movie was the creators’ first and greatest mistake. The squirrel has an affirmative position in movie history, alongside Orson Welles and Denzel Washington, not only because of his unparalleled talent, but because of the depth of his character.
The squirrel is the epitomization of mankind’s passions and uninhibited desires. Nuts are both his conquest and his vice; his nourishment and ruination. With otherworldly persistence, he will go to the ends of the earth for an acorn, figuratively and literally, falling from the earth’s crust to the core to reach it. His passion culminates in the final scene of the film (SPOILER ALERT) when after his heroes journey he finally reaches Scratlantis. Aristcratle, the wise, Grecian-esque philosopher, challenges the squirrel to be “more than a rodent,” but his request sees no end. The squirrel tornadoes through the abundance of nuts on the island, destroying the seemingly civilized society based on wisdom and thought. The squirrel’s deep struggle mirrors the problems some humans face.
While the squirrel seemed at first content with what his brethren had wrought; we discover that his happiness is caused not by meeting other members of his species (the first squirrels other than our legendary squirrel to appear in these movies), or for the incredible art and sciences they have mastered. Instead it is entirely caused by his now easy access to what drives him entirely: nuts. Within one breath, he turns from amazement to greed, willingly choosing to doom the other squirrels and the entire island (and perhaps the known world), only in order to get a single, additional nut. When one thinks about it, nuts run the entire squirrel society, the same way that money is threaded into our human world. Fascinatingly, even when the squirrel is able to get a nut, or in the case of Scratlantis, many nuts–he doesn’t enjoy them. He in fact does nothing at all except to hide it away. Perhaps this references his desire to have food in the long run, i.e. over winter, however given that this is the ice age, and that it’s always winter for this squirrel, and that he never seems to eat, the idea that he desires to get a nut to sustain himself is unlikely. This supports our argument about the squirrel possessing more depth than appears. We believe that his ambition to capture nuts and to stomp on them must necessarily speak to the vices of certain humans, who are never satiated and whose greed knows no bounds. God I love the squirrel.
In the main plotline, the questions of evil and vice could not even compare to that of the squirrel. The villain captain monkey was the worst villain of all time. He caused a certain amount of fear to a two year old only because he said he could shove people’s guts out of their mouths by pushing downwards from stomach to mouth. That doesn't even make any sense.
Made me want my $5 back on my Southwest flight.